Tag Archives: gardening

Lessons Learned

While the weather kept us from doing much work on the gardens, we’ve done a fair bit of discussion and experimentation internally. Some of this took the form of ‘war gaming’ a situation. We discussed ideas and tried to figure out the best way to handle them.

While Aaron worked on various radio satellite experiments, I began to figure out some of the issues that we would face living in an offworld or dome environment. There were a lot of questions.

  • How many plants per person to balance CO2 vs oxygen
  • What variety of plants. This includes herbs, medicinal plants and food.
  • What kind of livestock?
  • Water and sewage
  • Heating and Cooking
  • Clothing
  • Privacy and a whole lot more.

One of the big things that came out of the discussion was a Space Oriented Maslow’s Hierarchy. This is what we came up with:

  • Self Actualization: Personal growth, Fulfillment, helping others
  • Personal Esteem: Achievement, Responsibility, Reputation, Purpose
  • Community: Family, Affection, Work groups, Legacy
  • Psychological: Relationships, Sex, Safety, Stability
  • Biological: Air, Water, Food, Temperature, Sleep

As the weather warms up, we plan to start working on the gardens again. Plus there will be some new pages. Recipes and Issyroo Prelude, the first part of my book.

November Update

The summer months have been filled with a variety of activities. The lost of the grant meant that we had to restructure how we were going to do things. We concentrated on some smaller projects and more research than gardening or building.

One of the first was to move the compost bin. We moved it to the eastern side of the yard and the construction zone. The electric power was laid to the guest house and the ditch filled in. There will be more work over the winter to clear the garden.

 

Then we got a 1-2-3 punch. Drought and a fire, followed by the ‘monsoons’. We made a gutter bed, and built some raised beds. We also planned for a keyhole garden. I planted seeds in various beds and literally could not keep enough water on any of them. Some of the herbs survived. Most of the veggies didn’t. Then we had the East Peak Fire. This meant that we spent the better part of two weeks under evacuation orders, just waiting for the fire to get too close. In the end, the fire stopped 6 miles from town and burned 13,572 acres.

Within days of the fire evacuation order being lifted, it began to rain. Just enough to make us think that the drought might be over. Wrong. It helped damp down the fire, but it wasn’t until late August that the rains really hit. Northern Colorado flooded in what they considered a 1000 year flood. 18 inches of rain in just a few days. We had our fair share, and it made for a right mess of the yard. However, the garden began to grow. Lettuces and squash. We’ve also done a lot of weed control as the rains made them grow like crazy.  Since then, we have been making plans for next year and discussed financing a greenhouse.

Rainstorm!7 Rainstorm!6  Rainstorm!2 Rainstorm!1Rainstorm!5

Space Gambit Grant

No, we didn’t get the grant. This morning we got a notice via email.

Aloha Submitters

Thank you for submitting your proposal to SpaceGAMBIT. We’ve received so
many proposals that we’ve only just finished evaluating them.  We were only
able to select a few for funding this time around and unfortunately your
proposal didn’t make the final cut.

We will be checking with Space Gambit to see why our application was not accepted. The idea there being to find out what we can improve on to make our grant application better.

Meanwhile we are working on reclaiming the back yard. We will be adding a 10 x 12 ft green house and starting various experiments as we can without grant funding.

As Aaron said, in many ways it was a blessing not to receive funding as we are entering a crazy busy time of year. We shall see.

The Merry Month of May

As the weather warms up, we are beginning to work on a variety of projects. Aaron is cleaning up the lab and I have begun work in the garden. We have a number of projects lined up and one is to clear our back yard enough to build a greenhouse. The greenhouse will be where Aaron works on the plant respiration experiments. We will be starting aquaponics there as well if all goes well. In the meantime, we are gardening in a variety of manners. Among the projects on the list is a keyhole garden.

For those not familiar with this concept, keyhole gardens are raised beds combined with compost bins. They take up very little room and less water than your average garden bed. We will be building one in the yard to see just how they work. Aaron of course wants to hook one into an aquaponics system. That was the subject of a long debate, and it was decided to build and understand a basic keyhole garden first.

keyhole

After we understand how this functions, we will see about the aquaponics. As it is, Aaron has a number of tests he wants to run using his Beaglebone electronics packet. 🙂 Below is one of my many recycled planters.

May_12

 

Earth Day!

cleanupToday is the  43rd anniversary of Earth Day. I remember celebrating it in school. This wonderful new holiday. Science lessons on ecology, recycling, and the Earth in general. It was wonderful. Now 43 years later, I look at our planet and wonder why we aren’t farther along. We still have issues with pollution, energy use, food and all sorts of issues that celebrations like Earth Day were suppose to make us more aware of and be more responsible.

We still have all of the issues that there were 43 years ago. Some have improved, like recycling. Others such as pollution, have gotten worse. So, what can you do? How can we help our planet? There are lots of ways. Visit the website above, and find things that you as an individual or family can do.

Here at Issyroo Farms, we do our best to tread lightly. Over the last four years we have worked to lessen our footprint on Earth. We recycle, reuse and upcycle everything we can. We choose planet friendly options when it comes to packaging, travel and building. We are working on growing our own food, and figuring out how to best deal with an increasingly odd climate.

Take time today and walk outside. Take a good look at the Earth, and then see what you can do for her.

This is part of one of my favourite poems by Henry Beston.

Touch the earth, Love the earth, Honor the earth,

her plains, her valleys, her hills and her seas;

rest your spirit in her solitary places.

 

A Gamble

Today we are working on a grant to fund our Plant Respiration Project that is presently on ODE. This grant is through SpaceGambit  We learned of the grant through Mach 30. If we can complete the application and receive funding, we will start one of the first projects that came from discussing and wargaming the novel Issyroo.

This involves studying the respiration rates of plants. Once we have a test apparatus that gives us the data, we can make much better decisions on the kinds of plants necessary to survive in space or on Mars.While we know that it takes about 400 plants per person per year to provide oxygen to survive, we have no clue as to what plants will work for oxygen and food production. As we’ve discussed before, there simply isn’t enough data out there. Hence the plant respiration project.

The project was the brainchild of a late night discussion on Google+ with a bunch of Mach 30 and maker space members. The realization that no one had tested food plants astounded us. It gave a major plot line to the story as well as made Aaron and I think about whether or not we could do this.

While major science experiments are usually the purview of the scientific community, we wanted to do something that the ‘common man’ could do. That students in high school or the avid gardener could accomplish. We realize that if we are to become a space faring civilization, we must have mixed facets of society involved, and not just the military, scientific or educational communities. We need to include the dreamer, visionary, gardener with dirt on their hands and the social engineers that lurk under the guise of grandparents or loving family. It has to be a mix of people. Moreover, it is our belief that the major occupations of humanity in space or on other worlds will be life support and agriculturalists. Scientific exploration may only comprise 10-20% of those involved. The rest will be involved in keeping the colony alive. This means we must understand the symbiosis of humans, plants and atmospheres.

It is this experiment about plant respiration, which may lead to better understanding of extraterrestrial agriculture, that we hope to fund via SpaceGambit.